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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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Colin Thacher introduces new videogame elective

While many electives at LOHS were recently cut for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, this cut of electives brought brand new courses to replace the electives we had lost. Some are focused on music, others are more hands-on in the new greenhouse and one elective in particular incorporated the one thing that you aren’t supposed to do in school in a class. The class, Video Games and Interactive Narratives, taught by English teacher Colin Thacher is a new addition to the curriculum guide for this school year. This class is for people who enjoy video games; it involves actually playing video games during class, and analyzing the storylines incorporated into the game.

Senior Zane Dragu explained that he had different expectations for the class before going into it. “To be honest, I expected more first person shooter games, like violent games, which seem to be more popular, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s more adventure games, and more open world type systems.” 

The class has played two games; one called “Stray,” an interactive video game about a cat in a post apocalyptic world, and the other game called “Gone Home,” an exploration game based in Oregon. Junior Evan Buytenhuys especially enjoyed “Stray,” and described it as a game that he “thought would be really weird at first being from a cat’s perspective, but it turned out to have a really intricate story and a lot of different plotlines. And it was just a really well built game with good world building and nice exploration.” 

The creation of this new elective required research over the summer, and Mr. Thacher explained that “there are other people out there who are teaching these things, so I’ve drawn some resources from those curriculums. So those were some resources I had to research, but otherwise I sort of had to develop a lot of what I’m doing on my own.” He also explained that “it was specifically the first ‘Last Of Us’ game and the second ‘Red Dead Redemption’ game that made me want to teach this class […] Those two games have story, character and setting, all of these literary elements that we talk about when we talk about literature. They have them just as much as any book really.” 

Another aspect of this elective that both Dragu and Buytenhuys enjoyed was the sense of community. “All of us sharing one unique interest has brought us together, and even though some people might view it as weird, I really feel like this interest has really helped everyone be more connected.” said Buytenhuys. Dragu added that “Mr. Thacher is super open to all sorts of ideas […] you feel a lot safer in that room and it’s just more chill. You know it’s not professional. It’s just more fun and playful.”

The nature of Thacher’s video game class has made it a particularly popular elective for this semester, with lovers of video games from all genres coming together to play games in Thacher’s class.

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